Showing posts with label Blues Blogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blues Blogs. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2020

#450 : James Mathus & His Knockdown Society - Stop and Let the Devil Ride


2020 – Big Legal Mess Records

 By Phillip Smith; June 20, 2020

Jimbo Mathus is one of those artists I have the highest of respect for.  There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind, that his presence in the world of music has made a humongous impact.  On June 5, his entire back catalog was made available on Bandcamp by Big Legal Mess Records.  One of those recordings in particular, is a previous unreleased album called Stop and Let the Devil Ride.  The record dates back to 2001 and was recorded in the period of time he was working with Buddy Guy.  In 2003, there were few copies of the album printed, but not very many, and this never appeared online for purchase.  Self-produced, the album features Mathus on guitar and vocals, Stu Cole on bass, and Nate Stalfa on drums.  Additional guitars provided Dave Spencer and Luther Dickinson, and Patrick “Playboy” Smith appears on keys. 

“Mean Old Line” is a welcoming ferocious rush of heavy electric blues.  Mathus keeps it nice and swampy while Stalfa keeps the beat intense.  His cover of J.J.Barmes’ “How Long” has a spectacular groovy rhythm and is performed with a raw unbridled approach.  The swirling sounds of keys from Smith, adds a warm intoxicating layer of sound to “Love I Miss Loving”.  Originally by Otis Rush, this one is remarkably resurrected by Mathus as an instrumental.  There’s an early Stones vibe on “Dope Sniffing Dog”.  Loaded with rocking guitar riffs, pounding keys, and a sing-a-long hook.  The song is indeed one of my favorites.  I also love the infectiousness of “Blues Jumped a Rabbit.  This blues-soaked delight puts a smile on my face with every listen.  Mathus masterfully delivers slow-cooked blues with a heart-broken abandonment on “Cheap Champagne”.  Staffa takes it to the next level with breakneck speed on title track, “Let the Devil Ride”.  Mathus rips it up with a searing delivery on slide guitar, and Cole absolute cooks on bass.  This one definitely gets the blood flowing.   

Stop and Let the Devil Ride is extraordinary listen.  I’m so glad Jimbo decided to make this material available.  It deserves to be heard.  

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : therealjimbomathus.com 



Saturday, May 30, 2020

#447 : Shawn Pittman - Make it Right!



2020 – Continental Blue Heaven

By Phillip Smith; May 30, 2020


Shawn Pittman has toured with Susan Tedeschi, recorded with Double Trouble, been in a band with former members of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and played with Hubert SumlinJames Cotton, and Pinetop Perkins.  That’s quite the amazing resume, and it’s no surprise his thirteenth release Make it Right!, hooked me from the git-go.  Pittman’s guitar performances are amazing, and he sounds so damn good as he maneuvers from crisp and twangy, to dirty and swampy.  This is the kind of guitar-centric blues I enjoy most.  Pittman, on guitar and vocals, is joined by bassist Erkan Özdemir and drummer Levent Özdemir for the making of this splendid twelve track album.    

The delectable slow droning riff on “Done Tole You So” called out to me like a R.L. Burnside song.  It embraces that North Mississippi Hill country sound, and I love every bit of it.  A spectacularly funky cover of Albert King’s “Finger on the Trigger” follows.  Its groove, surrounded in a Hendrix-inspired cloak of psychedelia, is warm and inviting.  A pulsing breakneck beat courtesy of Levent is the only source for rhythm on title track, “Make it Right”.  Pittman’s guitar performance is scorching.  His rendition of Junior Kimbrough’s “I Feel Good” puts me in my happy place, as the juke joint experience is wonderfully recreated. The blues is played nice and slow on Pittman’s original “How Long”, as each note seems to hover in the air.  I embrace their instrumental take of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat”.  It’s one my top favorites.    

Make it Right is one killer record.  This is definitely one album you want to pick up.        


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For more information about the artist, visit this website :  shawnpittman.com

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.





Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.





Saturday, May 16, 2020

#445 : Albert Castiglia - Wild and Free



2020 – Gulf Coast Records 

By Phillip Smith; May 16, 2020

Albert Castiglia’s prowess as a guitarist never ceases to amaze me.  He is one of my go-to artists when I really want to hear my blues sizzle.  His latest album Wild and Free definitely cooks.  Produced by Mike Zito and recorded live on January 3rd and 4th, 2020 at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, Florida, this recording features guests John Ginty, and Lewis Stephens with Zito himself making an appearance.  Castiglia’s rhythm section is comprised of bassist Justine Tompkins, and drummer Ephraim Lowell.  They sound great, and they’re tight as hell.    

Castiglia kickstarts the album with a furious, intense rush by leading off with “Let the Big Dog Eat”.  Stephens adds a delightful taste of soul on B3, while the others keep it funky.  The momentum continues to build with “Hoodoo on Me”.  Castiglia’s fearless, blues-soaked vocals are perfectly fit for his attention-grabbing guitar licks.  Then “Heavy” gently rolls in on this big mellow wave.  This beautifully written and executed song about life itself is one of my absolute favorites.  I also adore their eight and half minute colossal jam on Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin’ Cup” with Ginty on B3.  I can’t help but smile when Castiglia and the guys dive in to Johnny Winter’s “Too Much Seconal” with both Ginty and Zito stepping in for some old school blues.  This is what it’s all about.  “Boogie Funk”, another bodacious eight and half minute jam, brings things to a lively close with a riveting performance and plenty of searing guitar action. 

To fill the void in these times in which live music is not available, Albert Castiglia’s Wild and Free is exactly what I need to hear.              
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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.albertcastiglia.net



Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.





Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.





Saturday, May 9, 2020

#444 : Eliza Neals - Black Crow Moan


2020 – E-H Records

By Phillip Smith; May 9, 2020

I got hooked on the music of Eliza Neals when I reviewed 10,000 Feet Below in 2017.  Last summer, I was gob smacked by her album Sweet or Mean, and had the pleasure of seeing her perform at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.  It was great to hear her stellar vocals belting out song after song, backed by her high energy band.

On Black Crow Moan her latest release, Neals draws me in from the get-go on “Don’t Judge the Blues”.  The slide guitar from Mike Puwal fills it with swampy goodness.   Slathered in hot buttery soul "The Devil Don't Love You", features the great Joe Louis Walker.  He keeps it funky on guitar as Neals takes me to church on keys.  Walker also delightfully appears on title track "Black Crow Moan".  The call and response vocals are emotionally-charged as the notes from Walker’s guitar weightlessly drift skyward.  This dark masterpiece, covered in ominous overtones, oozes with authenticity.  “Never Stray” is another amazing song.  It is shrouded in a beautiful intensity and features guitarist Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent) bassist Jason Kott, and drummer Jeffrey ‘Shakey’ Fowlkes (Too Slim).  St. Holmes also brings a bowlful of slow-cooked blues and searing guitar to Neal’s cover of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain".  Eliza sings this with fearless abandon as Shakey builds a wall of thunder on drums.  It’s an absolutely wonderful experience to hear.

When it comes to my list of favorite blues-rockers, Eliza Neals remains among the top. As long as the badassery within her keeps forging great records such as Black Crow Moan, I’ll be there to hear them.  

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : http://elizaneals.com/


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.





Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




Saturday, May 2, 2020

#443 : Tyler Morris - Living in the Shadows


2020 – Vizztone

By Phillip Smith; May 2, 2020

I’ve been a fan of Tyler Morris since reviewing his 2018 album Next in Line.   He continues to push the envelope when it comes to mastery of guitar, and his latest release Living in the Shadows is testament to that fact.  Backing Morris on this album is bassist Terry Dry, drummer Matthew Robert Johnson, and Lewis Stephens on Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer piano.  Produced by Mike Zito, this fourth release from Morris also features a remarkable guest list comprised of Ronnie Earl, Joe Louis Walker, and Amanda Fish.  

Morris pours out some magnificent blues with a terrific cover of Don Nix’s “Everybody Wants to go to Heaven”.  Zito and Walker both take the mike on “Polk Salad Annie” while Stephens lays down the rich sounds of B3.  Morris absolutely sizzles on guitar.  The notes weightlessly float through the air with “Temptation”, a beautifully executed original.  Amanda Fish, whose music I adore, is guest singer on “Better Than You”.  This riveting Suzi Quatro-esque blues-rocker was penned by Zito and co-founder of Gulf Coast Records, Guy Hale.   With “Young Man Blues”, Morris pays homage to the artists and musicians who gave him inspiration over the years.  Ronnie Earl provides additional guitar on the song, and it sounds great.  Morris infuses a tremendously infectious riff fortified with stellar licks on “Taken From Me”.  This one has a way of coaxing me to turn the volume up.  The record ends with the heavy, rocking blues of “I’m on to You”, another smokin’ original.  Hearing him rip it up on guitar is a sheer delight.

Living in the Shadows is a rock-solid album loaded with blazing guitar performances.  Morris’ playing is downright amazing. Thanks to younger blues artists like him, the Blues will be around for quite a while longer.


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For more information about the artist, visit this website :  http://www.tylerdmorris.com/


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.


Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

#442 : John Primer & Bob Corritore - The Gypsy Woman Told Me



2020 - Vizztone
By Phillip Smith; April 25, 2020

John Primer and Bob Corritore have teamed up once again to record yet another fabulously legitimate record of blues.  Primer instantly connects with his vocals, and enthralls me with his guitar phrasing.   He sounds so damn good as Corritore absolutely rips it up on harmonica.  Produced by Corritore, Clarke Rigsby and Kid Andersen, The Gypsy Woman Told Me also features Jimi “Primetime” Smith (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Welsh (piano), Kid Andersen (organ), Ben Levin (piano), Kedar Roy (bass), Mike Hightower (bass), Troy Sandow (bass), June Core (drums), and Brian Fahley (drums).  This twelve-track album contains ten deep covers and a pair of splendid Primer originals. 

Muddy Water’s “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” makes for a captivating listen as the title track.  With Welsh on piano, Roy on bass, and Core on drums, this one is slowly steeped in old-fashioned Chicago blues.  Corritore wonderfully takes on the legendary Helena, Arkansas harp player Sonny Boy Williamson II with “My Imagination”.  Primer’s guitar sizzles and Welsh holds nothing back on the ivories.  Dripping with emotion, their cover of Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me with a Broken Heart” is exquisite.  With the driving rhythm of a rolling freight train, “Little Bitty Woman”, is a smashing song.  This Primer original features spirited vocals, tremendous harp topped with Welsh’s attention-grabbing barrelhouse piano.  Flynn, Hightower, and Fahey provide the backing for the guys as they close with “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose”, a James Cotton song from 1984.  Primer plays this with precision against Corritore’s textured and nuanced performance.

The musical chemistry between Primer and Corritore is incomparable as they continue to produce some of the best blues being produced these days.  An absolute must for the blues fan, The Gypsy Woman Told Me is a sheer delight.     

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For more information about the artists, visit their websites : www.johnprimerblues.combobcorritore.com


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.







Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




Saturday, December 7, 2019

#420 : The Paul DesLauriers Band - Bounce

2019 – Vizztone
By Phillip Smith; December 7, 2019

Bounce, the third and latest album from The Paul DesLauriers Band is filled to the brim with hot smoldering blues topped with DesLauriers’ soulful vocals.   It’s no wonder why this Montreal-based blues group has pulled down Entertainer of the Year twice at Canada’s Maple Blues Awards, and took second place at the 2016 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee.  Guitarist/singer Paul DesLauriers leads this trio with Alec McElcheran on bass, and Sam Harrison on drums.  Bassist Greg Morency also appears on six of the thirteen tracks.    

I love the infectious guitar riff DesLauriers keeps churning on “Let Me Go Down in Flames”.  I’m easily drawn to the North Mississippi vibe emanating from it.  J.P. Soars notably appears on “Picked a Bad Day”, a killer song with a heavy-duty bass-line.  The dual guitars are searing.  PLB’s cover of Anthony ‘Duster’ Bennett’s “Jumpin’ at Shadows” is beautifully melodic.  They conjure up a big tasty helping of delta blues on “When the Darkness Comes” for another superb listen.  My favorite track on the album is “Loosy Goosy Jam #769”.  This cool-as-hell six and a half minute instrumental rides along an unstoppable driving rhythm, which DesLauriers slathers with his amazing guitar picking.  It’s absolutely fabulous.

Bounce is a must hear for blues fans.  DesLauriers and his band have set a new bar for themselves.  This really is a terrific listen.


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I reviewed PDB’s album, Relentless in 2016.  Click the following link to access it.    https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-paul-deslauriers-band-relentless.html


For more information about the artist, visit this website: https://www.pauldeslauriersband.com/


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.







Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




Saturday, September 14, 2019

#408 : J.P. Soars - Let Go of the Reins


2019 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 14, 2019

Produced by Tab Benoit, Let Go of the Reins delightfully highlights everything I like about the music of J.P. Soars : smokin’ guitar licks, hard-scrabble lyrics, and fearless vocals.  Soars, the Arkansas-based artist who won 1st place at the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and pulled down the Albert King Award for best guitarist, rolls out his fifth solo studio album covered in hard-driving blues.  Soars steers the ship on vocals and guitars, with Chris Peet on bass guitar, Tab Benoit on drums, and Tillis Verdin on the Hammond B3.   

Soars begins the album with a jumpin’ cover of J.B. LeNoir’s “Been Down So Long”.  The fresh new arrangement absolutely cooks.  I love the swampy cover of the 1970 hit song “If You Wanna Get to Heaven”, by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Soars definitely makes this one his own.  I thoroughly enjoy his beautiful performance of Django Reinhardt’s intoxicating instrumental “Minor Blues” too. 

A wonderful deep dark groove, preceded by an ominous entrance, guides title-track “Let Go of the Reins” on its hypnotic path to a psychedelic finish.   Soars cut loose on his spirited tribute to Freddie King called “Freddie King Thing”.  It jams indeed.  “Lonely Fire” with its delicate melody and Spanish influence, is a song I simply adore.  

I highly recommend Let Go of the Reins.  It’s among the best albums I’ve heard this year.    


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For more information about the artist, visit this website : jpsoars.com  




Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.








Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.







Saturday, April 27, 2019

#389 : Ross Osteen Band - Williwaw




2019 – Ross Osteen Band

By Phillip Smith; April 27, 2019

For blues served sizzling hot, check out the latest release from the Ross Osteen Band called Williwaw.  This album packs quite a wallop.  Osteen not only deliver the goods on guitar and slide, but his vocals has that Robert Plant range and sounds magnificent.  The band also consists of drummer Patrick Gaynor, and bassist Jim Vint.  Together, this trio is an absolute force to be reckoned with.

Their cover of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” delightfully kicks off the album.  From this point on, I knew I was in for some serious blues.  “Little Rooster”, performed with the fearless attitude of George Thorogood, is another song that cooks. It’s the real deal indeed.  “Broom” is spectacular too.  If I didn’t know better, I would think I was listening to Led Zeppelin.  Osteen’s rock-star vocals take charge as he pours out some of the best slide guitar you’ll hear.  The Phish fan in me loves the closing instrumental, “Jellyfish Jam”.  Its hypnotic rhythm and playful attitude draw me right in.  It is definitely one for the jam band enthusiasts to explore.  

Williwaw certainly makes my list of favorites for the year so far.

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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.rossosteen.com  


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.






Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze  Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 








Saturday, February 23, 2019

#377 : Atomic Road Kings - Clean Up the Blood




2019 – Bigtone Records


By Phillip Smith; Feb. 23, 2019



At the core of the Atomic Road Kings sits vocalist/multi-instrumentalist ‘Big’ Jon Atkinson (Kim Wilson) and master harp player Eric ‘Jailhouse’ VonHerzen (Walter Trout, Social Distortion, Kid Ramos).  Together, with bassist Bill Stuve, drummer Malachi Johnson, and guitarists Scot Smart and Danny Michel, they bring a robust, vintage blues sound into the studio to create their debut album, Clean Up the Blood. The album contains eleven original songs, and one traditional cover.  Recorded live at Atkinson’s studio using vintage analog gear from the Forties and Fifties, the album has an authentic retro vibe to it and sounds terrific.



Stuve’s slow blues bassline and Atkinson’s commanding vocals make “Rumors” such a cool song.  Tony Delgado, on lead guitar, gives a smoking performance too.  I love “Vibrations” as well.  This throw-back with a Howlin’ Wolf vibe features a splendid accompaniment from pianist Robert Welch.  The ominous nature of title-track “Clean Up the Blood” digs deep to the bone.  Atkinson and VonHerzen are definitely at the top of their game when it comes to composing timeless-in-nature blues songs.  Von Herzen keeps the rhythm rolling on “Two Sided Story” with his magnificent harp playing.  More bluesy goodness ensues with “Back Down South”.



Atomic Road Kings is definitely a band for the blues enthusiasts to keep an eye on.  They are the real deal indeed.     

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